From School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-This fantasy features third-person narration from alternating points of view and an interesting bunch of magical creatures. Aspen is a "Seelie" prince held hostage in the volatile "Unseelie" Court as part of an uneasy truce between the two kingdoms. When he learns that war has been declared, he flees the castle, joining forces with Snail, a midwife's accident-prone apprentice. Their escape takes them through dungeons, caves, and Astaeri Palace, which are all described with just enough details to capture the magical atmosphere. The most exciting moments involve encounters with an ogre interrogator; the river-dwelling mer; and a hungry, pregnant troll. The enigmatic Sticksman who ferries the heroes to safety and a crafty drow who misleads the prince to further his own villainous scheme are also intriguing secondary characters. Aspen and Snail are refreshingly atypical heroes: Snail's prickly personality gets her into as much trouble as her clumsiness, and Aspen is neither brave nor clever. Nonetheless, they are quite likable, and both gain strength and self-confidence as their adventure progresses and they learn to trust each other. The final chapters, which include a fairly uninvolving imprisonment and escape, slow down in pace, but they also set the stage neatly for the next book in the series, leaving plenty more to learn about the Seelie/Unseelie conflict and the intriguing relationship between the prince and the apprentice.-Steven Engelfried, Wilsonville Public Library, ORα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"Aspen and Snail are refreshingly atypical heroes." —School Library Journal
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"A rather thoughtful look at conflict, loyalty, and courage, and the discussion sparked here will hopefully continue with the proposed sequels." —BCCB